28 August 2009

Seeing Red

After decimating Jerry Colangelo's fan base with five years of front office aggrandizement and second division play, pious franchise stewards swallowed some pride and finally raised a ghost from the era they eradicated - to salvage what's left of their own withered following.

It wasnt supposed to be this way. Once Ken Kendrick floated unsolicited steroid allegations about Luis Gonzalez in 2006, and Jeff Moorad (Gonzo's former agent) declined to even discuss a contract with the aging franchise icon, the die was cast. Gonzalez questioned the club's vision, ripped the colors, and lawyerly club princelings responded by effusively praising his on and off the field contributions while casting him as a self-absorbed malcontent.

Kendrick's preference was that holdover Gonzo was gone for good. His hand-picked Dream Team would vie for championships on the cheap, on the strength of their guile and character (in Kendrick's self-image), and fans would finally see that crowns dont require Jerry Colangelo or overblown spending, and laud Kendrick for his acumen and leadership.

They would wear red, paint the stadium red and distance themselves as far as possible from everything Colangelo (well, except for inexpensive talent they quietly inherited and consistently assume credit for: Brandon Webb, Mark Reynolds, Stephen Drew, Dan Uggla, Carlos Quentin, Scott Hairston, Montero and Snyder, and one could even argue, Justin Upton).

Anway, the plan was to outdo the purple era, needle it on occasion, and take credit for a superior vision. If an ornery purple primadonna made extension demands, then screw him. We dont need Luis Gonzalez. We'll make people forget Luis Gonzalez.

Except they do and they didnt, and tonight is awkward proof. Even the petty Dream Team knows that now. They are assured of wangling the five lowest seasonal attendance figures in franchise history - in five years! - and are keen to avoid their low water mark of 2005. Friday night, they failed to draw 27000, as the Valley opted to watch a preseason football exhibition instead. Welcome to the Dream Team's wake up call.

Trotting out Gonzo should help. They've designed scarlet t-shirts with Gonzo's likeness for the occasion - to co-opt his steadfast popularity and foster the illusion they ever gave a damn about those who built their franchise. Look for the shirts, won't you? For the first time in Diamondbacks history, seeing red may be entirely appropriate.


Russell said...

I had no problem with the release of Gonzo on purely baseball terms. What I have had a problem with is the way the FO seems to want to create an "us" versus "them" scenario with many contract negotiations. It happened with Randy Johnson and Orlando Hudson and I'm sure others. They seem to be obsessed with the day to day PR battle rather than the long term health of the team.

Interestingly Matt Williams' steroid indiscretions seem to pose no problems to his continued career with the D-Backs.

Diamondhacks said...

I had no problem with the release of Gonzo on purely baseball terms

Although I had no issue with Gonzo playing elsewhere in 2007, I felt the org owed him a formal offer of some kind - even a part-time or "courtesy" offer, which he would likely reject or counteroffer.

To your point, when I said Kendrick 'eradicated an era', I didnt mean it in the sense Gonzo ultimately "left". I meant it more along your lines - that players either happily signed or departed respectfully, without all the public posturing, thinly veiled name calling, etc.